Innovative arts-based learning programs for people with dementia and other lifelong learners
Theory and Practice
Developmental learning theories including the works of Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky are foundational to teacher training and practice. Piaget’s stages of cognitive development and Vygotsky’s understanding of ways in which culture and history shape the learner’s experience guide teacher practice. Yet, these works are not limited pedagogies that cease to hold meaning for the adult learner. As an educator who teaches children and adults using the arts, I constantly draw upon Piaget and Vygotsky, while integrating Paulo Freire’s anti-oppression theory, David Kolbs learning cycles, or Carl Rogers notion of the inter-subjective dialogue that occurs unconsciously between teacher and learner. In practice, arts-based teaching combines educational theory with an open-ended, artful and light-hearted approach to learning through creative experience.
Arts-based learning programs use the arts to explore materials and resources, learn about themes and ideas, and develop techniques and procedural knowledge. Furthermore, the method embodies the notion of success, achieved through open-ended and failure-free activity. Reciprocity is an overarching element of the program that acknowledges the expertise and prior knowledge of participants that in turn allowing a reversal of roles between the teacher and learner. A key mantra of the method is “the teacher is the learner, and the learner is the teacher.”
Water colour in progress. The outcomes can range from just a few dabs of colour to more articulate and thoughtful works of art.
"Engaging in creative and artistic work in collaboration with others facilitates expression on many levels of experience" K.Downie
Copywright artoculus 2016. web design: www.vopniparsonsdesign.com